100 Years of Heritage

March 15, 2016
Uncover Amish Country

Cleveland Cultural Gardens celebrate history, ethnicity with centennial anniversary events

Danielle Frezza

"Peace through mutual understanding" has become the philosophy of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation since the opening of the Shakespeare (now British) Garden in 1916.

After the establishment of the Hebrew Garden in 1926, the City of Cleveland designated areas of Rockefeller Park for future displays.Today, the Gardens represent and pay tribute to 30 different cultures--as well as a commemoration to the American Legion--a testament to the Federation's original vision to represent the diversity and brotherhood of Cleveland. This year, the Gardens celebrate the 100th anniversary of that vision.

"I've met so many wonderful people," says Sheila Crawford, president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. "It's an inspiration to see them come together to make these marvelous gardens. It's really like an outdoor museum."

Crawford also says that the various sculptures of famous figures featured in the Gardens were created and imported from their native countries, such as Divine Comedy writer Dante from Italy, Mother Theresa from Albania, and Mahatma Gandhi from India.

"In addition to the beautiful landscape, there is a lot to learn and exchange between the different cultures," she says. For example, a sculpture named "Immigrant Mother"--on view in the Croatian Garden--adds a universal and poignant element to the showcase.

"The image of the immigrant mother is very moving, because it is a struggle experienced in all countries and cultures," Crawford says.

The centennial celebration kicks off at the April 8 gala at the ballroom of the InterContinental Hotel. Sheila Crawford, president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation, says that this event will not only celebrate past achievements, but also hopefully inspire Clevelanders to continue this work into the next century.

The event is black tie optional, and will feature dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and live music by The Footprints. Tickets are available now through March 15. To RSVP, click here.

Other celebrations for the Gardens will continue through the spring and summer. The annual One World Day (August 28) is an all-day event which features a parade, food, exhibitions, and opportunities to learn from delegates of the different ethnicities showcased.

To learn more about the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, click here.

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